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Track Handicapper Darin Zocali's Bio
Darin Z  RACE REVIEWS by Darin Zoccali A thoroughbred and standardbred racing announcer and analyst, Darin works for several racetracks including the Meadowlands, Parx Racing at Philadelphia Park and Tioga Downs.  He is also a regular fill in on Sirius XM Radio's Down The Stretch broadcast.  He is a graduate of St John's University (class of 2005) and is one of the youngest announcers/broadcasters in the racing business.

Race Reviews For Friday, July 04, 2014

1 First Race Entries
Picks: 1-2-3-4
H Horse Comment
1 APOSTLES CREED First foal from a dam that earned $128k. From the family of Liberty Balance ($1 Million) and Victory Dream ($1 Million). Brought a sales price of $120,000 at Harrisburg last year. Has looked very good in the mornings. Looms a top contender.
1A WHEELS AH SMOKIN Half-brother to Wheeling N Dealin ($841k). Dam earned $530k. Cost $155,000 at Harrisburg. Mornings are light.
2 REAL DJ HANOVER First foal from a dam that earned $220k. Cost $30k at Harrisburg. Only one morning workout for this, but it was solid.
2A AMICUS First foal from a dam that earned over $132k. From the family of Southwind Allaire ($733k). Cost $20,000 at Lexington. Showed good speed from an outside post in his lone baby race. Colt appears to have talent. Svanstedt entry looks quite strong.
3 FASHION CREDITOR From the family of Coco Lindy ($357k) and Another Miracle ($906k). Dam earned $129k. Improved last time out.
3A CREDIT CREATION Full-brother to To Dream On ($975k). From the family of Pampered Princess ($1.6 Million). Cost $185,000 at Harrisburg. Really liked what I saw in his second baby race. Seems to be a logical contender here.
4 LONGCAT HANOVER Colt is from the family of Sir Taurus ($484k). Dam earned $175k. Cost $40,000 at Harrisburg. While he doesn’t boast the most impressive of pedigrees, he has looked very sharp in the morning.
5 WORKOUT WONDER Half-brother to Pure Barre ($206k). From the family of V Eight ($426k). $70,000 Lexington yearling. Mornings light.
6 LUCKY CHIEF First foal from a lightly raced dam. From the family of Judge Joe ($938k). $45,000 Lexington yearling. Not ready just yet.
7 DON’T MIND ME Dam is a full-sister to Plesac ($2.5 Million). $50,000 Lexington yearling. Added the trotting hobbles at Pocono. A share.
2 Second Race Entries
Picks: 2A-8-1-7
H Horse Comment
1 STONEBRIDGE FORCE Half-brother to Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi who earned $927k. From the family of Pizza Dolce ($668k). Colt looked very good winning his lone baby race. Seems rather precocious as well. Looms a live contender.
1A SOUTHWIND MOZART Half-brother to Southwind Cocoa ($227k). From the family of Lassie’s Goal ($596k). Has to make up some ground.
2 FALK ON HILL S Sports a modest pedigree. From the family of Ultra Broline ($483k). Looked good in his most recent baby race. Player.
2A CANEPA HANOVER This is the half-brother to Hambletonian winner, Glidemaster ($1.9 Million). If you throw out the miscue, he has been the best looking two year old we have seen on the racetrack so far. $300,000 Harrisburg yearling. Strictly the horse to beat.
3 SWITCHBLADE HALL Colt is a kin to a six-figure earner in Numismatic ($138k). Cost $17k at Lexington. Broke stride upon debut.
4 MUSCLE BLUES A kin to a pair of six-figure earners. From the family of Armbro Keepsake ($882k). Cost $42,000 at Lexington. Showed very sharp early speed in his debut, but couldn’t trot with the leaders in the stretch. Needs to improve from that.
5 MOUNTAIN TOP His dam was a nice race-mare, earning over $460k. First foal from the dam. New pilot, but needs to step up his game.
6 MUSCLE NIGHT Half-brother to Behindclosedoors ($589k). From the family of Spice Queen ($402k). Baby races were even. Some upside.
7 MUSCLE DIAMOND Dam was a wonderful race-mare, earning over $1.1 Million. From a solid family. Campbell’s choice despite a lone baby race. Clearly this colt has some upside. He might need a start, but I think this colt has potential.
8 GUESS WHOS BACK First foal from an unraced dam. He did cost $90,000 at Harrisburg though. From the immediate family of the marvelous Poof She’s Gone ($1.3 Million). I will forgive the break. Sears is back to drive. Expecting a bounce-back mile.
9 MAGENTA MAN Half-brother to Dewycolorintheline, who is a Yonkers Trot winner of $477k. Dam was a nice race-mare that earned nearly $400k. Seems to have solid early speed. The post is the concern here.
3 Third Race Entries
Picks: 10-2-4-5
H Horse Comment
1 MY QP DOLL Brings a mixed bag of efforts to the table. I think she will need to step up her game here. But Miller did opt here. Interesting.
2 SPELL TO CAST Was left with too much to do last time. Moves inside and if she can stay closer, she can easily compete this time. Using.
3 DELICIOUSLYNAUGHTY Quite surprised that Miller chose off this mare. It might speak volumes. Recent form is just Ok. Tread lightly.
4 FULL EXPLOSION She showed some late interest from a difficult spot last time. Exits the same race as the two mares to her inside.
5 RX JOLT I thought her last race was better than it looks. Never saw the pylons there. Previous effort was solid. Likely to take some support.
6 EASTER SURPRIZE I think it’s hard to give her a ringing endorsement based on her inability to beat nw2 company. Will watch this time.
7 MC GILLACUDY-HENRY Her recent win came at the bottom level at Freehold. Subsequent two starts were not up to par. A longshot.
8 ENDURING DELIGHT Mare is yet to break through in the win column here. Her races here have been marginal at best. Not sold here.
9 TREASURE VALLEY A couple of decent tries at Harrington. Still, that form doesn’t typically transfer well here. I need to see a start.
10 CHEYENNE MIRIAM She is clearly the class of the race. I can make the argument she needed her last start off the scratch. Top selection.
4 Fourth Race Entries
Picks: 7-6-4-2
H Horse Comment
1 SHE’S ON FIRE Lone sibling has not produced a mark yet. From the family of Flawless Bluestone ($589k) and Toss Out ($409k). Her lifetime debut was an even try while sent off at 21-1. $6,000 yearling should improve off that attempt.
2 MISSION BRIEF Her dam is most known for her colossal 50-1 Breeders Crown upset. Lone sibling to race has a mark of 1:54.3. This filly cost $150,000 at Lexington. Made a break leaving the gate as the 4/5 chalk. Has not broken stride in 2 of 3 starts.
3 DYNAMITE DAME Full-sister to One Tough Girl ($236k). From the family of Bold Dreamer ($531k). Just even in the mornings so far.
4 SOUTHWIND CARTIER First foal from an unraced dam. Best performer in recent pedigree is Celtic Merchant ($301k). She drastically out-performed expectations upon debut. This $25,000 Lexington yearling may be better than we think.
5 RULES OF THE ROAD Has one winning sibling of two starters with a mark of 1:59.2. Biggest name in recent pedigree is Water Star who earned $209k. The problem is, this $20,000 yearling has now broken stride in 3 of 4 starts where she has gone behind the gate.
6 DEMONS N DIAMONDS Dam is a half-sister to Whitewater Rapids ($239k). She cost just $20k at Lexington. That said, she raced very well upon debut and has some upside going forward. Looks like a contender this time.
7 SATURDAY MORNINGS All four siblings are winners. From the family of Gleam, a Hambletonian Oaks winner of $587k. Filly cost $32,000 At Lexington. She looked the part in her lifetime debut. Looms as a major contender once again.
8 BLUE MUSE First foal out of a dam that earned $156k, who is also a kin to 2 6-figure earners. $20k Lexington yearling won at first asking.
9 JOSIE’S JOY Dam earned $641k on the track. She is a ¾-sister to Smilin Eli ($740k). Sylvester takes his time with these types, usually.
5 Fifth Race Entries
Picks: 1-7-9-4
H Horse Comment
1 MUSCLE MIDAS Beaten favorite from last week moves all the way inside. Connections hoping this is their Hambo horse. He should win.
2 SILVERHILL VOLO Has not been able to duplicate that win as the fields have gotten tougher. Off last, has to be considered a longshot.
3 KING CITY Raced better last time, but note that was on the class drop. This field is tougher, and ‘Poseidon is back in this race, too.
4 DEJATIERO Dejarmbro’s brothers hasn’t been seen for a month off the sick scratch. He’ll need to be very sharp to defeat ‘Midas here.
5 IVORY PEARL Was in contention when he made an ill-timed break last time. If he trots, he should be in contention for a share of this.
6 GREEN HORNUT I just cannot trust him to stay trotting at this point. Gets a new pilot tonight, too. I need to see him stay flat for the mile.
7 SOUTHWIND POSEIDON Dropped in class effectively, but also went a much faster mile, too. He could be turning a corner. Worth using.
8 AMOR DEO Just one qualifier to prepare for this, although it was a loaded event. Note, this mare is 0 for 17 in her career. Watching one.
9 CASH FOR GOLD Qualified behind a Hambletonian winner. This gelding has gone postward in some tough events. Interesting in here.
6 Sixth Race Entries
Picks: 3-7-8-1
H Horse Comment
1 SCANDALOUS HANOVER I really liked the way she rallied last time. I think that sets her up well for this start. One of several contenders.
2 JINGLEJANGLEJINGLE Nothing to knock about this mare’s form. She just catches a really tough field. Note, she was 31-1 last time, too.
3 JERSEYLICIOUS I always liked this mare. A little concerned about her effort at Mohawk. But, given time to freshen up. Expecting better.
4 CHARISMA HANOVER Talented mare earned over $500k last year. She has found the transition to 4 a bit tough, but I wouldn’t ignore.
5 MATTIE TERROR GIRL This is her biggest test to date. Competing well here would move her onto a whole new level. She is very sharp.
6 JK LETITGO Just the opposite of ‘Mattie, this mare has tailed off quite a bit. She had a lot of big miles this winter. May have taken its toll.
7 DROP THE BALL There are days where no one is going to beat her and others where she doesn’t show up. I expect her to show up here!
8 SHEBESTINGIN She looked like a monster early in the year and things quickly went awry. Added Lasix for the qualifier and it helped a ton!
7 Seventh Race Entries
Picks: 10-8-9-2
H Horse Comment
1 JANIE BAY She found the right spot turn parlay into a victory last time. Make no mistake, this is much tougher. Loses Campbell as well.
2 MACHAROUNDTHECLOCK She continues to race well and has hit the board in 2/3rd’s of her starts this year. I would use her in exotics.
3 SYNERGY SEELSTER Similar to Janie Bay, she also found a good spot to earn a victory. No Zeron tonight and in a tougher spot.
4 ROCKET ROSY This mare is somewhat intriguing. Gets some immediate class relief and should be better this time. Worth including a bit.
5 WESTERN EMPRESS She has been racing well lately. Had a tough trip the last time she faced this level. Good draw. Many things to lilke.
6 SOCIAL SCENE Improved on the drop in class at Yonkers. This is a much tougher, but I am always hesitant to ignore this barn. Tricky.
7 LORRIE PLEASE She hasn’t gotten back to the form we saw this winter. No Callahan tonight either. I think she is in pretty tough now.
8 ART IDEAL This mare figures to be set for a big mile. Needed class relief while recently adding Lasix. Won’t offer much value though.
9 MAJOR LOOK I thought she raced great against a tougher group of mares last time. Wide draw and loses Miller. Still a viable contender.
10 AUNT CAROLINE Mare is staked pretty well. I think connections are looking for a big mile out of the box. Plenty of talent here. Top pick.
8 Eigth Race Entries
Picks: 3-7-10-5
H Horse Comment
1 CRAZY ABOUT PAT Added Lasix, but still came up empty in the stretch. This field is not as tough and many will go back to the well here.
2 PT’S BOOMERANG Beat up on what was a rather soft group last time. This will not be nearly as easy, but the price will be much better.
3 MY LEAP OF FAITH He has been racing very well lately and now comes back to the track he established his mark at. Logical contender.
4 DNIEPER Opened up a sizable lead and held on at 16-1. I think this is a tall order on the move up in class. Betting against the repeart.
5 BOUNCING BAX Bet down to 3/5 at Yonkers and scored a pocket-sitting win. This field should fit this mare and I will be including in plays.
6 GUILTYWITHANEXCUSE Has not broken stride in 3 of his last 4 starts. Qualified well, but I am too skeptical of his ability to stay trotting.
7 BOSSY VOLO Has wheeled off back to back wins now and appears to be sharpening up. One of several contenders in a tough race.
8 ELIN Not a bad try last time behind Fico who is racing for $484k on Saturday night. Racing well and I will consider at a price in exotics.
9 LIGHTNING STORM Bet down to the 9/5 favorite last time and just came up empty. Similar to Crazy About Pat. I will try to beat this time.
10 RAY HALL He raced well here during the winter, but he has tailed off considerably lately. Maybe the move back to Harder will help.
9 Ninth Race Entries
Picks: 5-10-4-7
H Horse Comment
1 KILLER WHALE Making just his second start of the year. Hard for me to endorse a horse beaten 8 lengths at the Ocean prior to this.
2 RULES LITTLE MAN He is coming off the win, but comparing the caliber of competition at Ocean to here is tough. Need to see one.
3 BELLES OF CHURTON Has not made a pari-mutuel start in quite some time and is coming off an 0 for 26 season. Not sold on chances.
4 NEWSBOY MORIARTY Just 2 for his last 40 which is a concern. Didn’t really have a chance last time. This field is light, so I will use him.
5 LAD PINE The Flower Child Final was a bit tough for him. This is a much softer spot and he has a post edge on his main rival. Can win.
6 SPECIAL COMMAND His form has gone in the wrong direction since arriving at The Meadowlands. Would need a turnaround to contend.
7 GASLIGHT His last couple of starts have been OK. Seems to lack the extra kick needed, but good enough for a share in this group.
8 LINDY MCDREAMY Coming off a couple of breaks and was forced to qualify. Note, he was last at 23-1 when last seen here. Not sold.
9 UGLY STIK Beaten 10 lengths in a $10k claimer last time. Can improve in his second start off the bench, but still up against it.
10 BEAU JOE If PT’s Boomerang won on the move up, it would make this gelding all the more tough. Top contender despite the wide draw.
10 Tenth Race Entries
Picks: 10-1-7-3
H Horse Comment
1 WANNA WIN Kicks off the most wide open race of the night. She wins at this level. Has Pierce and draws well. First of many contenders.
2 JARNAC Winless streak now stands at 16. Some players will try her with the change to The Buckeye. I will continue to use in exotics.
3 KZ BEACH GIRL Exits a good race and here recent form has been solid. Have to like the move back to Campbell. Looms a contender.
4 MISS MACHQUEEN Dropping in class to the level of her most recent win. Smith fresh off a huge Saturday night here. Logical player.
5 EMBASSY SEELSTER This mare continues to race well, but has struggled to break through and win. Still cannot be dismissed here.
6 IDEAL A LITTLE Looks like one of the longshots that would surprise me if she won. Off the scratch and dull try, I will look elsewhere.
7 UF DRAGON’S QUEEN She has been facing some tough company. Has plenty of speed and moves to the bigger track. I like her now.
8 BALLINEEN A tough sell off her last two tries given how competitive this field looks. This mare would be a surprise. Looms a longshot.
9 ALWAYS ON A ROLL Nice effort last time, but it is worth noting that she loses Gingras here. That will ensure a much better price now.
10 ARIA J If Tetrick were here, I think this mare would have been favored. The draw is tough, but she may just be better than these. Using.
11 Eleventh Race Entries
Picks: 4-8-6-7
H Horse Comment
1 MARTINIWITHMUSCLE This is a very competitive field. Chased Trixton when last seen in the New Jersey Sire Stakes. First of contenders.
2 RESOLVE Coming off a scratch in what was a softer spot. Raced well behind Hillustrious last time. Still a likely bigger price than others.
3 MY INSPIRATION Comes out of that same race won by Hillustrious. Continues to race well but is likely to offer a decent price in this field.
4 LIGHTNING FORCE Broke through with a win over Muscle Midas who is a nice horse. Seems to have improved with Lasix. Contender.
5 YOGA Added the trotting hobbles for her qualifiers. Chased Bee A Magician in that qualifier. Filly has talent. There is some upside here.
6 HILLUSTRIOUS This colt is starting to his best stride. Connections hoping to get him to the Hambo. Contender right back. Short price.
7 CEE BEE YES She has been good since coming back, but not great. Tackles some boys here. Has some speed. Worth including here.
8 SPEAK THE TRUTH Sharp qualifier. This horse has faced Trixton in his last three starts. No Tetrick tonight. Still must be left in the mix.
12 Twelfth Race Entries
Picks: 5-3-6-2
H Horse Comment
1 MUSCLES AND SPICE Colt has been just even since the qualifiers. Does own a couple of wins this year. I would call him a fringe player.
2 MISTRESSWITHMUSCLE Raced better last time. That said, she is still 1 for 11 in her career. Seems to be pointing in the right direction.
3 ANGELS RANSOM I won’t hold the loss to Heaven’s Door against him as that filly would be odds-on in here. Seems to fit well in this spot.
4 HOME FRONT Didn’t show enough in that qualifier to be considered in this spot. I am going to watch this start and keep tabs for later.
5 SLICE SLICE BABY Making her second start back with the hobbles. Has been facing much tougher than this. Give her a long look here.
6 SKATES N PLATES Exits a series of stakes races for this much softer spot. He should be the one to beat, but the 1 for 21 scares me.
7 MARZIPAN Lone win came in a very soft spot at Vernon. He was just OK here at times. Looms a longshot until he steps up his game.
8 OVERGROWN Looks like a tough sell in this spot. The hobbles seemed to have helped, but I just don’t think he is fast enough for this.
9 SCACCO MATTO Has now made breaks in his last couple of starts and wasn’t able to race back to that runner-up try. Looking elsewhere.
10 DREAM ACT The move to the Miller barn is worth a look as she was much better. Total wild card from this outside draw. Tricky call.
13 Thirteenth Race Entries
Picks: 6-5-7-4
H Horse Comment
1 SILVER CREDIT I haven’t seen much of a difference since the addition of Lasix. This race isn’t incredibly tough, but I am looking elsewhere.
2 WHATNBLAZES Showed speed from a tough spot last time, but ran out of gas late. The move inside might help. A pace factor again.
3 CAPTAIN PRIMEAU His form has not been that sharp lately, just doing enough to earn checks. Expecting a similar result once again.
4 ACADIA AS Mare is coming out of, what I think is a better race. She has some speed and is worth a long look in this field. Including.
5 MCKENZIE’S STAR Mare has gone some tough trips in the recent past. Needs to work out a better trip, which shouldn’t be tough here.
6 PROVE UP Loses Tetrick tonight, but Ginsburg is more than capable. Making his second start back. Liked how he finished. Top choice.
7 J CS JAKE Just had too much to do in The Flower Child. Lack of speed always puts him at the mercy of both pace and trip. Using.
8 CARNEGIE Gelding has been pretty good lately. Doesn’t have the services of Callahan this time, but I would include given his form.
9 MOONTAN He took a lot of play in one of his starts here, but his form has not been very sharp. I don’t like the draw for him either.
10 RUSSELL THE MUSCLE Ships in from the Midwest and I think this post seals his fate, given his racing style. Watching for later on.